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Pirates to battle No. 24 Boise State

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — The final piece to the bowl puzzle was announced Sunday evening.
After finding out the when and the where on Saturday, the Pirates learned Sunday who they would be playing in the Dec. 23 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. The Pirates (7-5), who will be making their second consecutive bowl appearance, will take on the No. 24 Boise State Broncos (10-2). Second-year coach Chris Petersen led the Broncos to an undefeated 13-0 record and a thrilling 43-42 overtime win against Oklahoma in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.
It will be the third Top-25 team ECU has faced this year. The Pirates lost to then-No. 9 Virginia Tech 17-7 in the season opener and then-No. 5 West Virginia 48-7 on Sept. 22.
The game at Aloha Stadium, which will kick off at 8 p.m., will be the lone college bowl game on television that evening. ESPN will televise the game.
The Pirates, 7-6 all-time in bowl games, will begin their preparation for the Broncos on Saturday. The players, who will do some conditioning this week, will return to practice Saturday. By then, the coaching staff will have broken down film of the Broncos.
While Wilson admitted that he doesn’t know a lot about the Broncos, he realizes they have a high-powered offense. The Broncos average 42.8 points and 475.5 yards per game.
Ian Johnson, whose 2-point conversion run off a Statue of Liberty play gave the Broncos the win in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, leads Boise State with 1,030 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. Jeremy Avery has added 603 yards and eight scores.
Boise State quarterback Taylor Tharp has completed 259 of 379 passes (68.3 percent) for 3,070 yards. Tharp has thrown 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Jeremy Childs has been Tharp’s favorite target as Childs has 82 receptions for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns. Titus Young has hauled in 37 passes for 59 yards and five scores, while Austin Pettis has 37 catches for 376 yards and six touchdowns.
The Pirates, who will be looking for their first bowl win since posting a 40-27 victory over Texas Tech in the 2000 galleryfurniture.com, and Broncos will be meeting for the first time.
ECU will depart Dec. 17 for Hawaii.